SEO in 2016 won’t look dramatically different than in 2015; recent trends will either be tweaked or accelerated. In this post, we’ll look at a couple of points of emphasis advertisers need to address at a deeper level in the months to come, and we’ll look at a slight directional shift in content.

Let’s get started.

The two-headed SEO focus of 2016

Device and User attribution should be a huge focus. Even in 2015 I was still amazed at how many brands did not have an attribution solution.

attribution

Attribution should be accomplished in two ways:

  • Measuring how channels interact with and fuel one another
  • Measuring the user’s journey across everything digital your brand owns or controls, specifically the user’s device-type journey

2015 brought (and 2016 will accelerate) a focus upon the user journey. Device consumption will only continue to be diluted by the amount of devices/hardware being created and the operating systems they bring with them; there’s absolutely no reason brand experience should also be diluted or fractured with this new media/content consumption. It’s truly about understanding how your brand and content footprint are interacting with users in all channels across all devices. The deeper the understanding you have here – which is greatly facilitated by attribution solutions – the better you will be able to hone efforts to help move your KPI needle (whether that be traffic, point of sale, whitepaper downloads, etc.).

Content in 2016: usefulness trumps relevance

The top SEO tactics in 2016 shouldn’t change much from 2015, since 2015 helped to set the stage for 2016. Yes, there will be emerging trends in 2016 that were not apparent (possibly alluded to) in 2015, but what’s tried and true will remain relevant.

This means two of the largest weighted metrics that have been around from the beginning – backlinks and content – will still be SEO’s bread and butter. In one sentence: Good, unique, value-add content promoted by quality external links that both render well and are useful for end-users across multiple devices. Add in a flair for social promotion and engagement, and you’ve rounded out the base for your 2016 SEO efforts. A few tactical questions to ask of your content:

  • What is the goal of your content?
  • Is this content relevant to the end-user based upon what they’re searching for?
  • Beyond relevance, what about usefulness?

More on usefulness: When Google released  their Search Quality Rater guidelines in November of 2015, you noticed an inherent shift from answering “Is my content relevant?” toward “Is my content useful?” Meaning, you can have relevant content that isn’t that useful – but useful content will almost always be relevant. Furthermore, don’t forget about how this applies to our content consumption in 2016 – largely weighted towards mobile devices. You can have relevant content across both desktop and mobile – but for consuming content on mobile devices, is your content useful? Or is it hard for end-users to read on a mobile device (again, checking the box for relevant, but not for usefulness)? Both of these factors play heavily in today’s SEO success.

See the common theme here? If you’re prepared for attribution and device relevance and usefulness, you’re going to have a good year. If you’re not? Time to hustle and get on board fast.

Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments!

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Colin Guidi
Colin Guidi has been working in the SEO industry since 2009, and began working with 3Q Digital in 2014. In his spare time, Colin enjoys taking off his computer glasses and enjoying the outside. However, in his opinion nothing beats reading a solid well constructed SEO blog post littered with discussion comments from thought leaders (you might just find some attributed to him).